Battle of Inchon (1950 AD)
Fast Play Rules for Students

By Brian Irish

Historical Background: Korean War (1950-1953)

  North Korea invaded the Republic of South Korea in 1950.  The UN voted to recommend military assistance to the Republic of South Korea, and President Truman sent US troops to Korea.  The North captured much of the Korean Peninsula and the only hold outs were in the Pusan Perimeter.  General MaCarthur proposed relieving the pressure on Pusan with a surprise amphibious landing behind enemy lines at Inchon.  The landing was a  major victory for the UN forces in Korea.  UN forces went on the offensive and drove north until the Chinese intervened.  The war ended in an armistice, with a demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas near  the 38th parallel.  The border remains an area of heightened tensions to this day.  The Korean War is sometimes called the "forgotten war" in the United States because it comes between two more famous conflicts, WWII and the Vietnam War

Battle 1: These rules have not yet been playtested


The Miniatures: Imex makes 1/72 plastic soldiers for this battle, both North Korean and US.  In a pinch you can use WWII US figures.  The North Koreans used WWII Soviet weapons, so WWII Soviets could be substituted.  The tanks can be found in the same scale as plastic models or metal die cast models.   Here are some paper soldiers and tanks you can print and use 

Formations: American squads move in units of 8 soldiers, with an officer, radioman and two BAR machine gunners for each squad.  The North Korean squads move in units of 15 and have one officer and one machine gun.

US Forces: 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines
(Each Squad has 8 figures, see above)

HQ: 2 commanders, 2 units (8 figures)

A Company:

1st Platoon: 1 commander, 3 squads
2nd Platoon: 1 commander, 3 squads
3rd Platoon: 1 commander, 3 squads

B Company:

1st Platoon: 1 commander, 3 squads
2nd Platoon: 1 commander, 3 squads
3rd Platoon: 1 commander, 3 squads

C Company:

1st Platoon: 1 commander, 3 squads
2nd Platoon: 1 commander, 3 squads
3rd Platoon: 1 commander, 3 squads

D Company:

1st Platoon: 1 commander, 3 squads
2nd Platoon: 1 commander, 3 squads
3rd Platoon: 1 commander, 3 squads


2 squadrons, 3 Sherman tanks each

Total Start Forces: 318 infantry, 6 tanks

US Reserves (Turn 5)

E Company

1st Platoon: 1 commander, 3 squads
2nd Platoon: 1 commander, 3 squads
3rd Platoon: 1 commander, 3 squads

1 squadron, 3 M26 Pershings

North Korean Forces

(Each Squad has 15  figures, see above)

HQ: 2 commanders 3 squads

Regular Forces: 17 commanders, 17 squads

Support: 2 mortars and 3 anti-tank guns

Total Start Forces: 319 infantry, 5 heavy weapons


North Korean Reserves (Turn 10)


6 T-34 tanks


The Board: A 10’ x 10’ table was used during this game. The board is mostly covered with grass and sand. The lighter green lines represent Hill 105 on the island. The road also is the only way off the island so it is crucial to defend it if you are the North Koreans, and you MUST take it if you are the Americans. Grey boxes and brown lines represent the bunkers and trenches along the map respectively. Any sort of mound or hill will suffice to make the ridge.


Deployment: The Americans deploy first from their landing crafts onto the beach. The letters on the map correspond with the location of the US marine company landing (Ex. D for D company, T for tanks). The Americans may stand and fire in the shallow water that is marked by light blue on the map. The shallow water can be assumed to be 8” all around the island. Only one squad is allowed in the bunkers for the Koreans. The other remaining forces deploy in the box behind the road and may only leave the deployment zone when the first American unit crosses the Korean line (Ex. 1st Platoon, A company manoeuvres behind a bunker and therefore the rest of the Koreans are released).  The American reserves land on turn 5 and may deploy wherever they wish onto the beach.

Objective:  The American force must reach the top of the ridge then secure the road (Have a squad on the road protecting the it from the enemy) then Objective 1 is complete. Objective 2: Eliminate all enemy resistance. There is no time limit but only the amount of troops you have. The North Koreans must fend off the Americans for as long as possible or simply destroy them all. Once the North Korean tanks arrive, the North Koreans have to ensure that the Americans do not breach their lines. If 3 or more American squads (of any strength) have reached the road before the T-34s arrive all play stops and the Koreans must take a morale check. If any unit fails, they are removed from the board as the Americans have routed them. After that morale check, the game resumes as normal with no more full army morale checks.

 Morale:  Until reinforcements arrive, American soldiers must take a morale check. Each COMPANY rolls 2 D6 dice. If the total is 10-12 the morale is bad. If a 10 is rolled, 1 squad per platoon is removed due to a retreat. If an 11 or 12 is rolled, 2 squads are removed. Once the reinforcements arrive, Americans no longer have to take morale checks. For the North Koreans, after the first American unit has passed their lines, they take morale checks every turn. Any unit without a commander in it at the time of a morale check rolls 2 D6 dice. 1-6 means they hold fast and may continue fighting. 7-12 means half the squad runs away (of current squad strength; Ex. 6 squad members left, 3 run away. Always round down if there is an odd number of squad members). If a squad is reduced to 1 base or figure that squad is removed.

Sequence of Play:
1. Americans Move

2. Americans Shoot

3. Koreans Move

4. Koreans Shoot

5. Morale

6. Air Support/Artillery

7. Deployment (If reinforcements are available)

Movement: All units may move freely on the map. American units cannot move into the deep water but may move 4” while in the shallow water. If with a commander, the unit may move 6” in the shallow water. Once on the beach, they move normally, 6” with or without commanders. All units move 6” on the map and must stay at least 1” away from enemy units. Tanks may move 6” in the water and 8” on the map. Commanders are not restricted to stay with their own unit; they are free to move between different units.

Shooting: American units wading in the shallow water may shoot 9” and 10” with a commander. North Korean units may shoot 12” at all times unless in shallow water. But once on the beach they may shoot 12” but ONLY if they have a line of sight on an enemy. That means if only one soldier in a unit can see that enemy, only he can shoot. Each figure shooting must have a line of sight. If firing each figure has one D6 to roll. Americans hit on 6 while in shallow water, 5-6 if on solid ground. North Koreans must always hit on a 6. US commanders roll 2 D6 dice if with a unit, only one if freely moving. North Korean commander roll one D6. Commanders are always vulnerable unless in cover. North Korean mortars have a range of 24” and the anti-tank guns have a range of 20”. ALL tanks take 2 hits to be destroyed and can only be destroyed by another tank, artillery, or anti-tank guns.

Surprise Landing  Due to the fact that Inchon was a surprise amphibious attack, the Koreans must roll a D6 at the start of the game. A 1-3 means that they were ready when the attack came and may fire on their turn. A 4-6 means that they miss their first turn of shooting and the Americans caught them off guard.

Artillery:   The North Koreans have artillery batteries on the mainland so they get to throw six regular size cotton balls from one arm’s length away from the table. The Americans have destroyers off the coast so they get to throw 4 triple size cotton balls at the enemy. The triple size cotton balls kill anything within 1” of them. If a figure is touching the cotton ball, or the figure’s base is, the figure is killed and therefore removed. When in doubt, remove the figure.

Air Support:  The Americans may use Air support three times in the game. For Air support, a unit that has a line of sight and a radioman may call in an airstrike on that target. Roll 2 D6 dice to see how many figures are killed. (Ex. The two dice add up to 8. Therefore, that unit has taken 8 casualties). If an American unit does not have a radioman they cannot call in air support.

American Reserves:   At turn 5 the American reserves deploy at the edge of the shallow water. They then join the combat and all rules apply for the shallow water movement and shooting. The tanks are deployed as well on the beach but MUST be deployed with the E company reserves.

North Korean Reserves:   The North Korean forces that were not in the bunkers at the start of the game may move into the trenches and move around on the first North Korean movement turn. On turn 10, 6 T-34 tanks come from off the table to reinforce the North Korean defenders. The tanks move and shoot the same as the American tanks.

Resources: Some useful resources for wargaming Inchon and the Korean War.

Range To Hit
US 12" 5-6
North Korea 12" 6